Book Review

Weyward – Emilia Hart

Today I am reviewing the multi-timeline tale, Weyward, by Emilia Hart. Many thanks to Emilia and Borough Press for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.


KATE, 2019
Kate flees London – abandoning everything – for Cumbria and Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great-aunt. There, a secret lurks in the bones of the house, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.

VIOLET, 1942
Violet is more interested in collecting insects and climbing trees than in becoming a proper young lady. Until a chain of shocking events changes her life forever.

ALTHA, 1619
Altha is on trial for witchcraft, accused of killing a local man. Known for her uncanny connection with nature and animals, she is a threat that must be eliminated.

But Weyward women belong to the wild. And they cannot be tamed…

Weaving together the stories of three women across five centuries, Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world.


I was told by my friend Kate Kenzie that I would love this book, and she wasn’t wrong. Emilia Hart weaves together the lives of three very different Weyward women beautifully in an empowering story of women surviving in spite of the men trying to keep them down. There were perhaps a few too many creepy crawlies for my liking, but even my bug phobia couldn’t keep me from reading.

While I enjoyed each of the three timelines in Weyward, it was Altha’s story that I found touched my the most, and made me angry that female healers were called witch if the sick they tended to died, but the same was not true of male doctors. I have read a number of books about various witch trials, but of all of them, I think Altha probably made me the most emotional.

Weyward is a fascinating tale of how women suspected of witchcraft have been treated through the ages, and at the same time is an inspiring story of three women discovering their own strength.

Book Review

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride – Roshani Chokshi

It has taken a while for me to be able to organise my thoughts about this book into actual sentences, but I am finally able to review The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi. Many thanks to Roshani and to Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of this book, which I received via NetGalley.


A sumptuous, gothic-infused story about a marriage that is unraveled by dark secrets, a friendship cursed to end in tragedy, and the danger of believing in fairy tales—the breathtaking adult debut from New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.

Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after—and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage . . . or their lives.

Combining the lush, haunting atmosphere of Mexican Gothic with the dreamy enchantment of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a spellbinding and darkly romantic page-turner about love and lies, secrets and betrayal, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.


Wow! The Last Tale of the Flower Bride was everything I had hoped it would be from looking at the cover and more. It is dark, romantic, erotic without the need for graphic sex, and it oozes with gothic atmosphere. There were times that I found it chilling, but I was captivated by Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada and found her impossible to walk away from.

With the nameless narrator known only as The Bridegroom, I was reminded of the second Mrs de Winter from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca – his devotion to Indigo, and with the mysterious House of Dreams being as much a character in its own right as Manderley only adding to this feeling.

Roshani Chokshi has a wonderfully poetic writing style, and her words weave a spell around the reader, cutting them off from the rest of the world. I was drawn so deeply into this book that when I emerged from its pages, I felt somewhat dazed.

With hints of fairies and secrets surrounding the disappearance of more than one character, I was desperate to uncover each of the intertwined stories, but fearful of what would be revealed. Roshani’s use of the darkness hidden within fairy tales to explore the toxicity that can come from all-encompassing relationships, both platonic and romantic, make this a truly gripping read.

I have tried to find a way to describe this book for a couple of weeks now, and the best I can come up with is that it is quiet, a book of murmured secrets, stories told in a whisper. It is simply exquisite.

Book Review

Promise Boys – Nick Brooks

I have a brilliant YA novel to share with you all today as I review Promise Boys by Nick Brooks. Many thanks to Nick and to MacMillan for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.


A blockbuster, dark academia mystery about three teens of color who must investigate their principal’s murder to clear their own names—this page-turning thriller is perfect for fans of Karen McManus, Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Holly Jackson.

The prestigious Urban Promise Prep school might look pristine on the outside, but deadly secrets lurk within. When the principal ends up murdered on school premises and the cops come sniffing around, a trio of students—J.B., Ramón, and Trey—emerge as the prime suspects. They had the means, they had the motive—and they may have had the murder weapon. But with all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. Or is the true culprit hiding among them?

Find out who killed Principal Moore in Nick Brooks’s murder mystery, Promise Boys—The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying.


As you will know by now, I am a big YA fan and I am always on the lookout for new and exciting books to recommend to my friends and their teenage children. Promise Boys is one such book that I have been recommending to just about anyone who will listen, and is a book that I feel will appeal to avid and reluctant readers alike,

Each part of Promise Boys starts with a collection of short snappy sections, each from a different point of view (these would work brilliantly as the start to each episode if Promise Boys becomes a TV series, which I really hope it does), before moving into longer chapters told from the perspective of each boy. These “soundbites” really grab the attention of the reader, making Promise Boys one of those books where it is easy to fall into the “just one more chapter” trap because some are only a couple of sentences long, and before you know it, you haven’t moved for hours. Despite the brevity of each of the short sections, I found each voice to be so distinct that I had a vivid image of the person speaking, both in terms of appearance and personality.

Following from such vividly written minor characters, as you would expect the three main characters in this book are beautifully created and heartbreakingly human. Are they perfect? Most definitely not, but it is this that makes each of them so believable, and I am sure that every young reader will relate to at least one, if not all, of these boys on some level.

Nick Brooks has a wonderful writing style that really draws you into the heart of the story, and it is easy to see that he is writing not from the point of an outsider looking in, but as someone who understands the very heart of the boys he is writing about. When Promise Boys released, I had the chance to attend an online book launch with the Nick, and he speaks so passionately about the unheard voices of Washington – the real life Promise Boys. He is truly a champion of building young people up to be the best that they can be.

I read this at a really horrible time in my life when I badly needed distracting, but doubted anything would work – this book did, and I thank Nick for that.

Book Review

The Luminaries – Susan Dennard

Today I am reviewing The Luminaries, the YA fantasy novel by Susan Dennard. Many thanks to Susan and Daphne Press for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.


Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you…

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie’s town―and the rest of humanity―from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night. Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal―and restore her family’s good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie must enlist the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark. 


Being a huge Leigh Bardugo fan, when I saw her quote on the front of this book, I knew I had to read it, and I wasn’t disappointed. From the very first page, I could tell that The Luminaries was the start of what promises to be a very exciting new YA fantasy series.

The prologue made my spine tingle and the hairs on my arm stand up, and whilst the rest of the book was not as dark as this made me imagine it would be, The Luminaries was the perfect escapism from a day where my health saw me miserable, in pain and stuck in bed. Winnie’s experiences as she fights to become a Luminary hunter  were a wonderful distraction from the real world. The world that Susan Dennard has created is rich with detail and I absolutely loved the pages from the Luminary compendium, complete with illustrations, that are included – a fully illustrated compendium would make a wonderful companion book to this series (hint, hint!) The inhabitants of Hemlock Falls make up a varied and well developed cast of characters, and I soon had my favourites among them. I very quickly became engrossed in their world and it was a real wrench when I had to leave it at the end of the book.

I finished The Luminaries with more questions than answers. I have a few suspicions about these though and I cannot wait until the next book so I can see if I am right about any of them.

Book Review

The Hollows – Mark Edwards

I have a creepy thriller to share with you all today, as I am reviewing The Hollows by Mark Edwards. Many thanks to Mark for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.


From the bestselling author of The House Guest comes a chilling story set deep in the woods…

With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.

From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place—strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest—but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.

It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.


I am a big fan of Mark Edwards, and having read a number of his books now, I couldn’t wait to add this one to my list. Within a couple of pages, I knew this was going to be Mark’s creepiest book yet. A remote resort in the woods with no phone signal or WiFi, a mysterious, unfriendly town complete with a deeply disturbing set of twins, and a trip to The Hollows really is the stuff of nightmares. I absolutely could not put this book down from start to finish, and not just because I was scared it would haunt my dreams if I tried to sleep before knowing the outcome! Mark’s writing just gets better and better with every book, and I look forward to what comes next.

Book Review

The Space Between Worlds – Micaiah Johnson

I have a bit of a genre switch today as I am reviewing Micaiah Johnson’s sci-fi novel, The Space Between Worlds. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.


A multiverse-hopping outsider discovers a secret that threatens her home world and her fragile place in it–a stunning sci-fi debut that’s both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.


The multiverse business is booming, but there’s just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive.

Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying–from diseases, from turf wars, from vendettas they couldn’t outrun.

But on this earth, Cara’s survived. And she’s reaping the benefits, thanks to the well-heeled Wiley City scientists who ID’d her as an outlier and plucked her from the dirt. Now she’s got a new job collecting offworld data, a path to citizenship, and a near-perfect Wiley City accent. Now she can pretend she’s always lived in the city she grew up staring at from the outside, even if she feels like a fraud on either side of its walls.

But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined–and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.


Science fiction and fantasy are genres that are often grouped together, but whilst I read a lot of fantasy, it is a rarity for me to read sci-fi. I dabble occasionally, but I often find that I struggle to fully connect with the story. Right from the lovely dedication to the author’s grandma and an undisclosed “you” – which made me chuckle but feel sad at the same time – The Space Between Worlds has a very human feel that is sometimes lacking in sci fi books

Micaiah Johnson has created an intricate web where not only are there the different worlds of the multiverse, there are different incarnations of the same people. It is a multiverse full of interesting twists, and I can imagine it was tricky to keep track of everything while writing. It really is a very clever story, and I enjoyed every page.

I don’t know how well I would cope knowing that there were hundreds of other Mai Taylors out there. I have a feeling that finding out about them and how they died would become something of an obsession!

Book Review

Time’s Convert – Deborah Harkness

For today’s review, I have a book by one of my favourite authors in the form of Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness. Many thanks to Headline for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.


On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus’s deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor–the young employee at Sotheby’s whom Marcus has fallen for–is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he’d escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both–forever.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time’s Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.



As I write this review, I am deep in the middle of watching the third and final season of A Discovery of Witches – a TV series I love almost as much as the books it is based on, which is a rare occurrence. 

Marcus is one of my favourite characters from the All Souls trilogy and I was keen to uncover his story, to see what had made him into who he is. I loved all the touches linking him to Diana for hundreds of years before their paths actually crossed. The balance between the historical fiction of Marcus’s story, and the contemporary beginnings of Phoebe’s journey is beautifully done, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Phoebe evolve.

I adore Deborah Harkness’s writing style. Her world building is completely absorbing, and I always find it incredibly hard to stop reading her books to do real world things like eat or sleep! I live in hope that one day she is inspired to write further based in the world of the All Souls Trilogy, so that I can learn more about my favourite characters (I’m looking at you Gallowglass and Miriam).

Oh, and if the TV folks are reading this, I would love to see this book as a spin off series from A Discovery of Witches.


Book Review

The Hemlock Cure – Joanne Burn

Today I am reviewing the dark historical novel, The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn. Many thanks to Little, Brown Book Group for my copy of the book which I received via NetGalley.


It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.

Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the fact that she studies from Wulfric’s books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril.

And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .

Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.


The Hemlock Cure is part historical fiction, part coming-of-age and part love story, making it a book that will appeal to different people on many different levels.

Joanne Burn’s decision to have the book narrated by Mae’s dead sister Leah as she watches over the people of Eyam made for a compelling hook, making me very curious as to how she and her mother died. The flashbacks to Leah’s own memories and the excerpts from Wulfric’s diary built on this mystery as Mae’s own story unfolded, making for a tale that I found hard to put down. Mae is a character that I quickly became attached to, and my heart broke for the life that she found herself living.

Whilst reading about a community ravaged by the plague, it is impossible not to draw comparisons to the situation the world has so recently faced. It was startling how little has really changed in the intervening years. Knowing that the book is based on fact, and that the people of Eyam really did lock themselves away from the world in an attempt to limit the spread of the plague made it all the more fascinating to read.

I think I went through the entire emotional spectrum whilst reading this book as I fell under the spell of the wonderful characters stored within its pages.

Book Review

Unspoken – Guvna B

Today I am reviewing the raw, honest memoir, Unspoken, by Guvna B. Many thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing me with a copy of this book which I received via NetGalley.


Men are bold. Men are brave. Men are strong in the face of fear. But what happens when that strength crumbles?

Growing up on a council estate in East London, rapper Guvna B thought he knew everything he needed to know about what it means to be a man. But when a personal tragedy sent him reeling, he knew he had to face these assumptions head on if he was going to be able to overcome his grief.

In this intimate, honest and unflinching memoir, Guvna B draws on his personal experiences to explore how toxic masculinity affects young men today. Exploring ideas of male identity, UNSPOKEN is an inspirational account of Guvna’s journey.


Toxic masculinity is a concept that I have only a vague awareness of, but I decided that 2021 was the year that I needed to educate myself on a number of matters, and this brutally honest memoir from Guvna B seemed a good place to start.

Isaac’s faith is a strong theme throughout the book, so if this isn’t something you are comfortable with then this may not be the book for you. Personally, it made me wish that I could be even half as strong in my own faith as he is. The warmth of his personality shines through in his writing along with his commitment to helping people. I am a long way from the target audience, but I found him so relatable and it really felt like I was talking to a trusted friend. I think it was this instant familiarity that meant parts of this book completely and utterly destroyed me, to the point that my chest hurt through crying.

I don’t know what drew me to this book. As a white, 40 something female I could hardly be further from the target audience, I am not a fan of rap, had never heard of Guvna B before, and my faith is on somewhat shaky ground. But, something made me pick it up to read and the words within went right to my soul and the grief that I still feel after the loss of grandmother. Guvna B is a man who cares passionately about making things better for today’s teenagers, showing them opportunities and guiding them to live the best lives they can and frankly we need more people like him in this world.

Book Review

Sisters of Shadow – Katherine Livesey

Today’s review in the great NetGalley review catch up is for fantasy adventure Sisters of Shadow by Katherine Livesey. Many thanks to One More Chapter for my copy of the book.


All she knew was vengeance…
Alice has lived in the forest on the fringes of Alder Vale ever since her parents abandoned her. Alone, exiled, feared by all. All except Lily.

But something is stirring beyond the mountains, whispers of spectres stalking the moors, women of unfathomable power luring children into a cult that has haunted local lore for a generation.

Then, in the dead of night, Alice receives a letter promising answers to the questions that have always tormented her. And so she meets Grace. The red-cloaked cultist pledged to protect her, a scarred warrior born of storm and sea, the girl who will steal her heart.

Anne of Green Gables meets His Dark Materials in this whimsical fantasy adventure following the unlikely alliance between an apothecary, a witch, a warrior, and a witch-hunter. Perfect for fans of Garth Nix, Natasha Ngan, and Diana Wynne Jones.


Sisters of Shadow is a lovely fantasy adventure story which reads like a centuries old fairy tale. The world of the Shadowlands was intriguing, completely cut off from the modern world, stuck in the past while everywhere else seems to embrace modern technology.

Alice and Lily make unlikely friends. They are complete polar opposites, Lily all sunshine and warmth, Alice dark and distant.  As I got to know them, they reminded me a little of Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked.

I loved getting to know the supporting cast of characters, and quickly fell for Grace and the gentle care she took of Alice.

The end of the book felt quite sudden and easy but I loved the hints of what was to come. At times, the pace felt a little slow, but I could tell it was building to a sequel, and this is a book that I am looking forward to reading.